FIRE chiefs have warned they will come down hard on time-wasters who make malicious calls.
It comes after a false report of a house fire in Charterhouse Street, off Oxford Road, in Hartlepool, in the early hours of Saturday.
Cleveland Fire Brigade chiefs say such calls divert resources and culprits will be investigated.
The brigade received a call from a phone box to the house around 3.15am.
Two crews from Stranton Fire Station, but a station spokesman said: “We couldn’t raise anyone and there was no sign of fire.
“We are liaising with police and looking at pictures from CCTV.
“It’s very rare we have malicious phone calls because of the follow-up action we do, if anyone calls on a mobile phone we can trace them.
“If resources are tied up there it means if there is a genuine fire somewhere else it’s going to take other appliances to attend.”